Charlie Schlenker

Assistant News Director

GLT Assistant News Director Charlie Schlenker grew up in Rock Island, Illinois and graduated from Augustana College. He has spent more than three decades in radio and has won numerous state and national awards for journalism. He lives in Normal with his family.

Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

The two candidates for Normal Township supervisor have opposing views on making the public assistance program more efficient.

Township duties are to determine the value of property for taxation, to take care of roads not maintained by other government entities, and to distribute welfare to the local poor who are not eligible for other public aid.

City of Bloomington

The Miller Park Zoo in Bloomington has welcomed two bundles of furry cuteness. Parks and Recreation Director Jay Tetzloff said the baby otter pups were born about a month ago.

Their eyes are now open, but Tetzloff said they do not yet know how to swim.

Staff / WGLT

The Connect Transit Board has completed the hire of an Interim Director.

Former Chief Operating Officer Isaac Thorne will take over for Andrew Johnson until a permanent replacement can be chosen.

Staff / WGLT

Normal Town Council candidates said they find the idea of combining the Bloomington and Normal public libraries an intriguing one.

At a GLT candidates forum held at ISU's University Galleries, candidate Chemberly Cummings embraced a question about merging library services rather than building a new library in Uptown South in Normal and an expansion in downtown Bloomington.

Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

The McLean County Board has signed off on a labor agreement with jail guards.

It's a two-year contract that expires at the end of this year. County Administrator Bill Wasson said they will head right back into negotiations.

Cristian Jaramillo / WGLT

A Facebook group called "Bloomington Deserves Better Than Kevin Lower" is attacking the mayoral candidate for a 3-year-old response to an alleged racist post on a page titled the Marcus Garvey Society.

On the page was a comment suggesting that "if African Americans really wanted to escape racism, it might be time for them to move to the land of the ancestors."

Project Love The Ladies

What does a poor woman do when it's that time of the month? It's a difficult question when most available cash goes to putting food on the table.

There is an answer for some in Bloomington Normal. It's called Project Love the Ladies.

David Wilson / Flickr

Nearly 6,000 people were out of work in Bloomington-Normal in January and looking for a job.

The state Department of Employment Security reported unemployment rates increased in most major metro areas in the state including the Twin Cities.

Staff / WGLT

The Normal Town Council will consider a new public comment policy to replace one the Illinois Attorney General has called illegal.

The Town currently prevents members of the public from addressing the council more than once every 45 days.

The Public Access Counselor for the Attorney General's Office said that violates the Open Meetings Act.

Staff / WGLT

Department store options continue to shrink in Bloomington-Normal.

J.C. Penney is closing its store at Eastland Mall in Bloomington.

The Chateau / Facebook

The City of Bloomington has allowed the Chateau Hotel to reopen about a week after shutting it down for non-functional fire alarms.

JohnD / Yelp

  

As Saint Patrick's Day approaches, a watering hole in Uptown Normal has made a list of the top Irish pubs in the nation.

Foursquare reports Maggie Miley's Irish Pub came in at 19 on the top 25 based on users likes, saves, tip sentiment, and its "proprietary hotness" score. Maggie Miley's owner Tyler Holloway said he's pleased.

Mike McCurdy / WGLT

Congressman Rodney Davis said the Trump administration should disclose any evidence it has about the allegation President Obama ordered wiretapping of Trump campaign operations. That came in an early morning tweet from President Trump a couple weeks ago.

If there is no evidence, Davis said, Trump will have egg on his face.

Staff / WGLT

The closure of Macy's in Eastland Mall is a symbol of retail upheaval nationwide according to Bloomington City Council candidates in wards one, five, and seven.

Seth Perlman / Associated Press

Congressman Rodney Davis said he stands behind the American Healthcare Act as written, though he expects it to change significantly before passage.

The Congressional Budget Office indicates older Americans would pay much more for coverage than under the Affordable Care Act.

Bradley Gordon / Flickr

Gordman's Stores has filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy and announced liquidation plans for its stores including the one in Normal in the Shoppes at College Hills in Normal.

The century old Nebraska department store chain is the latest victim in a climate that has seen customers shift to the internet.

Macy's has also gone through that trend and announced the closure of its store in Bloomington. The Gordman's in Normal is one of the anchor stores in the Shoppes at College Hills.
   

Staff / WGLT

The Journal Times newspaper in Racine, Wisconsin reports Bloomington City Manager David Hales is one of three finalists for City Administrator in that Milwaukee suburb.

However, in a statement to WGLT, Hales states he took himself out of the running for the Racine post.

Illinois State University

Illinois State University's new Vice President for Finance and Planning will be on the job early next month.

ISU President Larry Dietz has announced he picked Daniel Stephens, who most recently has been an associate vice chancellor in the University of North Texas three campus system.

Staff / WGLT

The Town of Normal is saying five to seven million gallons of water spilled in that overnight water main break.

"About a two-day supply, it looks like," said Dan Irvin, spokesman for the town.

Staff / WGLT

Epiphany Catholic School is dealing with a "huge mess."

Epiphany Principal Mike Lootens said the water from a main break overnight in Normal was gushing up six or seven feet high and then running straight downhill into the school.

Chateau Hotel and Conference Center / Facebook

The City of Bloomington says there is still no timeline for allowing the Chateau Hotel and Conference Center to reopen.

The city shut down the hotel because the fire alarm system didn't work. Bloomington Community Development Director Tom Dabareiner is in charge of code enforcement. He said two options range from a few days to a few weeks.

Edgar Lehr

An Illinois Wesleyan University biologist has let the world know about a previously unknown kind of fleshbelly frog.

It isn't the first new species Edgar Lehr has discovered. But, that didn't lessen the thrill when he saw it about ten thousand feet up on the side of a mountain in the Pui Pui forest preserve in the Andes.

Bloomington Police Department

Bloomington Police say a sexually violent person has cut off his home monitoring ankle bracelet and disappeared.

Wanted for escape is David Hermosillo. He is 50 years old and had been living on West MacArthur Street in Bloomington.

Bloomington Shuts Down Chateau Hotel

Mar 8, 2017
Chateau Hotel and Conference Center / Facebook

The City of Bloomington has shut down the Chateau Hotel and Conference Center. A contractor tipped off the city that fire alarms did not work.

Connect Transit

Bloomington-Normal's bus system has named an interim General Manager by promoting from within.

Chief Operating Officer Isaac Thorne will take over for General Manager Andrew Johnson. Johnson is leaving for a new job with the bus system in Champaign-Urbana.

Staff / WGLT

It is said, not altogether jokingly, that only two things are guaranteed to get a school superintendent fired: trying to kill off a school mascot and school redistricting.

Unit Five in Bloomington-Normal is not trying to change mascots. But it has been roughly five years since the district last drew new school boundaries, and the district is just starting that process again.

Superintendent Mark Daniel said they are beginning the ticklish job of approaching this third rail of education administration.

RogerW / Flickr

The New York Times is raising the question of Tax and Accounting Fraud by Peoria-based Caterpillar, Incorporated, not just negligence in taxes owed. Citing a confidential report to federal investigators, the Times alleges Caterpillar did not comply with either U.S. tax law or U.S. financial reporting rules.

Leslie Robinson of the Accounting Department at Dartmouth is the author of the report. The story quoted Robinson saying she believed the company's non compliance was deliberate and primarily with the intention of maintaining a higher share price.

Pete Souza / Wikimedia Commons

The GOP proposal to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act is on the table.

The GOP Plan offers tax credits instead of individual subsidies for coverage. The credit starts going away as incomes rise.

Staff / WGLT

Bloomington Mayor Tari Renner has named two new members of the Liquor Commission.

They are Realtor Jack Bataoel and Lindsay Powell, who works in Marketing at Growmark.

Staff / WGLT

The Town of Normal has fired a broadside at the City of Bloomington over its decision to try to terminate the Metro Zone agreement.

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